The Royal Bermuda Regiment was yesterday out in force for the funeral of former Regimental Sergeant Major and Captain Larry Burchall. Mr Burchall, who went on to have a successful career in the media and as a social commentator, was laid to rest with full military honours.
Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Raynor, the Honorary Colonel of the RBR and a former Commanding Officer, told the congregation at Wesley Methodist Church in Hamilton that he and Mr Burchall had been friends since their childhood growing up on the North Shore.
Col. Raynor added that the two had joined the then-Bermuda Cadet Corps together at Berkeley Institute and went on to the Bermuda Militia Artillery in 1961, which later combined with the Bermuda Rifles in the desegregated Bermuda Regiment.
Col. Raynor said the two had both worked as instructors for all-white units from private schools at Warwick Camp while cadets.
Col. Raynor added: “That camp convinced us that the thought of us being lesser was nonsense. We notably marched to that drum for the rest of our lives.”
And he said Mr Burchall, who had passed an officers’ course, opted to remain in the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess because “decided he wanted to be hands on with the instruction” although he became a Captain and training officer of the Regiment after serving as Regimental Sergeant Major.
Col Raynor added: “He always had an idea of doing something better or different. He always presented those and sometimes they were rejected.
“Then he found a way of dealing with situations – to go an implement things anyway making things different, making it more fun for the people.”
And Col. Raynor said: “He was monumental as an instrument for the development of the Bermuda Regiment, the Royal Bermuda Regiment as it is today.
“There were thousands of men under him in the Regiment and they are ready to salute him today.”
Mr Burchall’s coffin was taken to and from the church on an RBR gun carriage, accompanied by the RBR Band and Corps of Drums.
Mr Burchall’s coffin, draped in the Union Flag and bearing an officer’s sword, sash and headgear, was carried into and from the service by the RBR.
Mr Burchall’s brother Roderick said that Mr Burchall “spoke with military precision, with authority, his facts were correct and he wouldn’t be persuaded otherwise.”
And Roderick Burchall added: “To many people, Larry was many things. He was an author, he was a political spokesman perhaps, financial analyst, he was a soldier.
“But to me, he was Larry Burchall my brother. His life is over, his work is done. Rest in peace my brother, rest in peace.”
Premier Michael Dunkley, acting Oppostion Leader Walter Roban and former Premier Sir John Swan were among those who delivered tributes at the service.
Arlene Kim, Mr Burchall’s daughter-in-law, delivered a message on behalf of his wife Paddy.
Ms Kim said: “He was an active, hands-on, dedicated and loving father as we raised our two children and, of all his life accomplishments, he was most proud of his children.”
Mr Burchall’s son Laurion, accompanied by his daughter Patricia, thanked the RBR “for honouring my father today.”